The Porsche to Peaks Hike Series created by David Angelus and Dianne Bienick concluded the season with hike three to two 6,000’ peaks.  The day started with a drive to a Pisgah Mountain meet-up before car-pooling to the Art Loeb Trailhead to start the double 6,000’ peak hike.

The Double Peak Hiking Crew Early on the Trail

The morning was cold with thirty-degree temperatures and wind at the 5,000’ Pisgah Country Store meet-up point that had to put temperatures in the twenties.  The nineteen hikers came prepared as layers were added to their clothing in preparation for starting cold and shedding layers as the day heated up.

The shedding of layers never occurred until well after lunch as we got to a lower elevation in the sun and out of the wind.

Left to Right:  Dianne Bienick, Don Lowcavage and Dennis Pevarski

The big advantage to the cold temperatures was that parking for this popular trail was not very crowded so we were all able to park along the road within an easy walk of the trailhead. The discussion before starting out was exactly how many layers would be worn and what would be carried in the backpack. Most of the hikers opted for extra warmth while Author and President Jim Moore opted for fewer layers hoping that the wind would die down and energy expended would make the shirt and pull-over sufficient for the day.

Half-way up to the first peak, a jacket and gloves came out of my backpack as the wind continued to blow across the trail on the open Balds being crossed.

The Trail Winding Across the Bald

The trail was a gradual elevation climb that alternated between stone steps, water-worn rocks requiring careful placement of footing and a rocky path.  The group soon split into three groups with Dianne at the front of the lead group and David hiking “sweep” to be sure everyone was safe, together and enjoying themselves.  The day was not much different than one of our drives; a leader who keeps everyone on track, those in the middle enjoying the journey and the Sweep to keep us safe and contained.

Alex Llera leading Steve Walker, Peter Graham, Mark Nowakowski and Matt Sprouse

David and Dianne are experienced guides on the road and on the trail so no one got lost, and we all stayed together.

The goal of this hike was to achieve a double-summit of two 6,000’ peaks: Black Balsam Knob and Tennant Mountain.  Black Balsam Knob is the 18th highest summit in the Appalachian Mountains topping out at 6,214’ while Tennant Mountain tops out at 6,060’ making it the 29th highest peak.  

The Nineteen Successful Hikers at the Summit of Tennent Mountain, 6,060 feet

 

All nineteen hikers summitted both peaks and made the five-mile loop hike. There are 40 peaks in North Carolina over 6,000’ so summitting two make this group on their way to being official “Peak Baggers” in the climbing world.

The views were spectacular and since it was a cold, sunny day we could see for miles and enjoy the true beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One of the Many Beautiful Views with Astors in the Foreground

 

As Dennis Pevarski and the author surveyed the view from lunch break, we both marveled at how fortunate we are to live in this area with such great natural wonders.  People travel from across the world to see the sights we were experiencing just out our back door.

Stopping to Enjoy the View

The lunch break was taken at the summit of Tennant Mountain where the groups split up to enjoy views while taking cover from the wind.  We had been fighting the wind along the trail as we climbed Black Balsam Knob before hiking down a narrow Rhododendron-lined trail of the saddle before making the “final push” back up to the 6,000’ summit of Tennant Mountain.

The original plan was to hike out and back, but at lunch it was decided to hike the loop trail instead that would take us down out of the wind on a little easier trail and loop us back to the trailhead.

Matt Sprouse describing the Astors, while Dianne sniffs a few while Mark Nowakowski looks on.

Along the way Matt Sprouse, a knowledgeable member on the unique flora along the trail helped to educate us to the bio-diversity of the area.  Near the end of the trail, we viewed one of the few natural cranberry bogs outside the northeast that only exists off this trail due to the high acidity of the water.

The final mile of the hike was an old logging trail that was sun drenched and sheltered by the high flora bordering the trail.  It was finally time to start shedding layers as we approached the four-mile point of the hike for the “final push” up the trail and road to finish at the car park.

The two of the  lines of hikers traversing the mountain.
Mark Nowakowski, Susan Lowcavage,
Dan Dazzo, Dave White, Dianne Bienick.
Sue and Greg Jones, Pat Quinn
and friend, Don Zelm

Not only did David and Dianne plan a fantastic hike, but they had refreshments waiting for us at the end in celebration of bagging two 6,000’ peaks while hiking five miles. Thanks also went out to Matt and Dennis for sharing lead duties.

This was a first Appalachian Region event for Steve Walker who commented at the end what a great way to meet new friends and experience the Appalachian Region.  It was not at all what he thought a Porsche Club was about.  We drive, eat, socialize and now hike.

Map of the Hike Hiking Statistics

See you at a future Appalachian Region event!

 Jim Moore – Appalachian Region President